Old Town, Alkmaar
The old town of Alkmaar is of great interest with many buildings of historical and artistic importance.
At the west end of the old town of Alkmaar, which is surrounded by beautiful gardens laid out on the line of the old fortifications, is the Grote Kerk or St Laurentiuskerk (Reformed), a fine Late Gothic church built between 1470 and 1520, with a carillon. It occupies the site of an earlier church which was destroyed in 1468 by the collapse of its unfinished tower. Notable features of this cruciform basilica - a fine example of Brabantine Gothic - are the pulpit (1665), the Baroque stalls, the monument of Count Floris V of Holland (d. 1296) in the choir, a Late Gothic organ (1511) in the north ambulatory and a 16th century brass in the south transept. There is also a large organ of 1645 (recital times given).
The municipal Weigh-House (Waag), at Waagplein 2 in Alkmaar, was originally the chapel of a religious house dedicated to the Holy Ghost (1341); it was converted into a weigh-house in 1582. In the tower (1595- 99) is a carillon of 1688. The Weigh-House now contains the Cheese Museum.
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Sep 30: 10am-4pm; Fri: 9am-4pm; Closed: Sun
Dutch Cheese Museum
The Dutch Cheese Musuem in Alkmaar is located in the Weigh house, and features exhibits on the history of cheese making.
The eastern section of Alkmaar's Late Gothic Town Hall (Stadhuis) dates from the early 16th century, the western part from 1694. Of particular interest are the Council Chamber, the hall containing a cupboard in the traditional style of the Schermer area, the Polder Room and the Renaissance magistrates' room. The Nierop Room, with a wooden ceiling and period furniture, dates from 1634.
Alkmaar's Municipal Museum (Stedelijk Museum), at Doelenstraat 5, was formerly, from the 17th century, the headquarters of St Sebastiaans Schutterij (Marksmen's Guild), which from the 14th century to the beginning of the 19th acted as the town guard. The museum displays paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries and of the Bergen school, a collection of coins and material on the history of the town.
Hans Brinker Museum
Alkmaar's Hans Brinker Museum, at Voordam 6, has a collection of sledges and skates.The museum traces the social history and culture of Noord-Holland through exhibits.
Hof van Sonoy
In Nieuwesloot in Alkmaar, on a site occupied from medieval times to 1500 by the convent of Mary Magdalene, are the Hof van Sonoy (1576; fine 17th century tympanum over the doorway), which was occupied for a time by William I's representative, and the Huis van Achten, notable for its Regents' Room and its fine woodcarving.
Hofje van Splinter
The Hofje van Splinter (1646), at Ritzevoort 2 in Alkmaar, is an old people's home for eight ladies, notable for its fine paving and its barrel-vaulted timber roof borne on five Tuscan columns.
Alkmaar's St Johanneskerk was founded in the mid 15th century by the Knights of St John and was rebuilt after a fire in 1760. It has an 18th century hanging pulpit and an organ by Christian Müller.
Molen van Piet
The Molen van Piet, an old flour mill (1769) on the line of Alkmaar's former town walls, at the end of Ritzevoort, is still in use.
The Wildemans Hofje in the Oude Gracht, originally a barn, was converted into a temporary church in 1658.